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The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.
– Sir Winston Churchill
Though Churchill was referring to writers of history and the sciences, in which case they water down their premises and arguments to the point where it would be hard for anyone to disagree with them (example: “motherhood” issues), the quotation applies as well to today’s writers and even to non-writers in terms of their behaviour.
Political correctness comes to mind first. Initially its purpose for each person is to prevent the offence of an innocent second party by an unthinking or boorish first party. The problem, however, is that political correctness kicks in so that an arrogant and supercilious third party attempts to control the behaviour of the first party. The objective is not learning a lesson, but control of another’s behaviour.
Political correctness has become the weapon of bigots who presume to support the cause of avoiding bigotry. Practitioners of political correctness on a scale where it is intended to affect the behaviour of others (accused of bigotry) are themselves bigots, especially with their bullying ways.
As a response, innocent people try to avoid being labelled as racist or as bigots by writing and speaking in wishy-washy ways so that they can never make a strong point in an argument for fear that it may offend someone. Meanwhile we can see the ultimate in extremist political correctness on such services as FOX-NEWS where an interviewee or guest may suffer verbal abuse at the hands of a host who purports to be a defender of the innocent.
In the United States the hypocrisy of political correctness reaches absurdity as people with white skin may be fired from their jobs or suffer overwhelming condemnation for using “the N-word” publicly or privately in a way that becomes public later as a result of spying. Meanwhile African-Americans freely use the whole word in large public gatherings and hi-hop music lyrics. Somehow, the inequality of that issue doesn’t strike home with the advocates of political correctness.
What hits home with more people is the effect of the movement on how they speak. Some get so tied up with striving to use the politically correct words that their listeners or readers lose track of what the purpose of the issue at hand is.
When conveying messages of any type, you can’t please everyone. If you do, you find yourself with an audience that cares nothing for what you have said.
When making a strong point in any argument, whether written or oral, if your words don’t generate at least some opposition, even enemies, then not enough people are paying any attention to your message. Without opposition, the mountain you want to climb becomes a plain, a desert where you can get lost and no one will notice. Or care.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children what they need to know to grow into competent, confident adults worth listening to.
Learn more at http://billallin.com